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Free Valentine’s Printable

I’ve been in a painting frenzy lately, and it is blessing my heart and now it can bless you too.

I’ve been having so much fun exploring different styles of painting and bring them into photoshop to play with. I’ve been exploring taking different elements to focus on and creating patterns from what was once a whole design. I have no idea where this is going, but I thank you for joining me as I explore my creativity.

As I tested different styles and ideas I’ve put them into a simple free Valentine’s Day printable. It was a way to learn new skills and test them out.

Have a look below and click the links to each free Valentine’s Day printable.

Knight’s Rescue, Valentine’s Day Printable
I made this as a birthday card over the weekend and thought it would be a fun Valentine’s card. I left this one blank so you can fill in the banners as you please.

These are all PDF files which you can easily download. I recommend getting a nice light cardstock and print them either at home or at your local printer. Cut, label, and hand out to your heart’s content.

I would love to hear your feedback on the cards, and which design is your favourite.

Valentine Fortune Teller

When I started thinking about Valentine Day cards for my children, I thought of all the cards readily available in the shops, and shuddered. The tedious task of having to weed out the overly-tart-heart-explosion-red-and-white-commercialized-cartoon cards for something I would be proud to hand out is something I don’t want to make time for. However, I know my children love to give and receive Valentine cards so I began to research what else might be available.

I came across these beautiful cards courting couples used to give one another in the 1800’s, and instantly my heart began to race. I dove into them researching shapes, colours, and words and how they continue to inspire us today.

Then I remembered how much my children loved drawing and playing the fortune teller game and put two and two together.

The lover’s cards from the 1800’s is strikingly more intricate than what I came up with, but I think this is perfect for little one’s. I also didn’t want something too Valentine centric but something more friendly and could be given to anyone.

I created this fortune teller pattern for the little ones who love to play games, colour, and also to encourage them to have a positive mindset and share that with others.

I’ve created this as a free download so you can share it with your littles if you’d like. Mine can’t wait to hand theirs’s out to all their friends on Valentine’s. I would love to see your finished fortune teller. Send me a photo or tag me @lesleystefanski on Instagram.

3 things I’ve learned from my spending detox

3 lessons I learned from my spending detox

When I look back at this time last year I forget that I was in the middle of my spending detox (6 months of spending zero money on anything other than what we need). I thought it would change my life, but it didn’t, in fact, my finances are still much the same.

When you start a spending detox, you go into it hoping that your finances will look drastically different. I had hoped for lots of money saved in the bank, a new look on life, and a roadmap of where our finances would go. So,  I wanted to share three things that I learned from my spending detox even if my finances don’t look that much different.

3 things I learned from my spending detox

1. Plan for success, diligently.

I had created a list of needs vs. wants, which I feel greatly helped with me knowing what to spend money on and what could wait. However, I wish  I would have spent more time planning out the six months and what events and seasons were coming so that I could make sure I had everything ready and available for when those times came. For example, within weeks of starting my detox, I forgot to pack underwear for a week-long trip. Yes, this is considered a need at this point because no one wants to wear the same pair of underwear for a week. I stopped into a store and bought a few pairs.  When I look back at this experience, it was a first world problem that I solved very quickly with money. I could have gone the entire week wearing one pair (hand washing every night). But once I stepped foot into the store my old habits of spending took over and the next time I was approached with moving a want onto the need side, I easily justified it.  When winter transitioned into spring, I found my closet bare of spring/summer clothes and justified purchasing new clothes. If I were to do it again, I would really plan out those six months looking at every piece of clothing in my closet and the seasons approaching and the events so that I could plan accordingly and not have to step into a store the whole time, unless something truly needed to be replaced and then really consider how to replace it.

2. Be specific about your goals.

When I started my spending detox I thought it would be a fun way to see where our money was going, but truly I had hoped I would have money saved in the bank by the end of it. Halfway through the detox, I sat down with my husband to go over how much I had saved. I had estimated an amount, but when he opened up our account it wasn’t even close. I was devastated.  I thought I had been doing so well, but the reality is that I wasn’t doing as well as I hoped. Looking back I should have set up a savings plan to move the money that I wasn’t spending into a savings account so that I could track how much money I was actually saving. Instead, the money stayed in our chequing account and was spent anyway, just differently.

3. Have fun with it.

When I think about those six months I would say about 4 out of the 6 I was actually on my detox, the last two so much had shifted that it almost felt like it went out the window. But I felt okay with it because I was having fun. I was enjoying analysing how I felt when I did spend money, at what point my body would turn into stress mode at a particular price point, and I also changed the price point of my mental budget of particular items.

My spending detox didn’t turn out exactly as I planned, but I do deem it as a success because, in the end, I learned where our money was going and it gave us a baseline of how we wanted our future spending to look like. I’m considering doing another spending detox and implementing the lessons I learned to see what kind of outcome I come up with next. Although I might do a four-month detox instead of six because just like any workout you don’t move up a weight until you can master the full reps with the weight you currently can handle. I clearly can handle four months right now and maybe someday I can do six.

Are you thinking of doing a spending detox? I would love to hear.

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Snippet of my novel

I always enjoy seeing a bit into the background of other writers and their process so I thought I would share some with you. I’ve shared a small piece of my novel only once before, and I am challenging myself to share more with you.  Below you will find a scene which always gets me excited when I read over it.

“My Grace, you look flushed!”

“I should be, I have been dancing for hours!” She sat down beside Nettie taking a sip of the crisp white wine letting her eyes trail about her. She found him, back on the dance floor with his hands leading a stunning golden-haired girl with hazel eyes in a twirl. She felt her stomach drop and realised she wanted him to be hers, and only hers. Her body was overcome with a sense of jealousy she never knew before, and thoughts of ripping this girl out of his arms and off the dance floor came to mind. She shook her head and turned her attention back to Nettie. “Are you enjoying yourself?” she asked to distract herself.

“I am having the best of times; it is amazing what happens when you are acquainted with the Queen” she joked, and Sophia had to laugh. Of course, Nettie would be having a completely different experience than the usual balls and celebrations she attended, she, being the particular friend of the bride and the Queen.

“Well, I hope you use it to your full advantage, you never know when it might happen again”. Sophia winked at her and relaxed into her seat. She realised that she could be herself with Nettie, and felt a kindred connection to her.

Nettie was a woman from the village and had lived her entire life in the shire, and knew that attaching herself to the Queen would bring a new level of interest from the men she had grown up next to, which were currently eyeing and nodding towards Sophia in curiosity. Nettie didn’t have anything striking about her, and being almost one and twenty as well as unmarried meant that she wasn’t exciting enough to catch the attention of anyone so far. But Nettie had a feeling that this evening was going to change things for her.

“How about you, My Grace, are you enjoying yourself? I hope our small village men aren’t a bore to you.” She smiled at Sophia with an eyebrow crooked in question.

Sophia noticed that the room was buzzing in conversation. By this point in the evening, almost everyone had forgotten they were there to celebrate the bride and groom, and the women were talking about Sophia while the men were looking in her direction waiting for an opportunity to speak with her. She could see through them; they saw women as a something to be owned. And it wasn’t just the men in the village; it was mostly men that she encountered only saw her as something to conquer and never bothered to reveal their true selves to her. It didn’t sit well with her.

Turning her attention away from the men resting against the walls of the hall she turned to the couples on the dance floor and saw the one man who didn’t look at her as a way to achieve all his wants and desires. However, he was currently occupied entertaining a fair-faced woman whose gaze was turned upon him with deep love and affection. William’s gaze was filled with a tenderness made her chest ache in yearning. Sophia had never received a look like that let alone a touch from a man that let her know he cherished her. Pulling herself away from the scene before her she returned her attention to Nettie; she couldn’t bear to watch William when he was looking at another woman like that.

“Like you, I am having a wonderful time. I always enjoy dancing the night away. But it is nice to sit and refresh myself. The night can pass by so quickly that I soon realise that I haven’t even tasted the feast they’ve prepared!”

“You’ve already missed the feast, My Grace, all that is left is chocolate dessert”. Nettie jumped to her feet and pulled Sophia up along with her, “come, let’s go and see what we can find” and directed her towards the back of the hall. Sophia discovered that what she needed more than a glass of wine or dessert was to feel some fresh air on her face. “Will you be sorry if I stepped out for a moment? I’ll come back and find you,” and stepped away from Nettie, disappearing into the crowd.

Sophia scooped her dress off the floor and walked quickly, letting the music fade behind her. Her shoes clicked on the floor, and her shadow followed along from the torches anchored into the wall as she made her way down the stone hallway leading towards a pair of large wooden doors. She pushed both doors open and felt the air rush to meet her, almost taking her breath away, as she came onto a beautifully manicured terrace overlooking the quiet village below.

The moon was bright in the clear sky illuminating the country landscape around her. There were lines of carriages on the gravel lane and men outside drinking and hollering at each other waiting for guests inside to stumble their way to them. Large potted evergreens lined the arched stone balcony, and behind her, the stone hall glowed through paned glass windows. Taking a tremendous inhale, she leaned against the balcony railing, releasing the tense emotions she had felt throughout the day.

She heard the doors open behind her and wondered if Nettie had followed her. Taking a breath to steady herself he turned to find William standing before her. His hair all over his head in a wild way, his shirt damp from the heat in the room was firm against his chest showing off his firm muscles whenever he took a breath. Seeing him in his kilt regalia of soft jade and cream tartan had her insides melting. Her desires were much more significant than she allowed herself to admit and knew she would have him in her tent and bare herself naked to him if she could.

“You left rather quickly; I wanted to make sure you were okay”. He looked her over and saw she was flushed and in good spirits.

“I am well, thank you, Mr Fitzgerald. I have been dancing for hours and needed some air, it can get stuffy in halls with all the smoke and drinking,” she smiled at him, “I hope you have been enjoying yourself. The bride and groom have been so generous to invite me”. She didn’t dare move towards William even though her body was pulsing with magnetic energy towards him, almost against her will. William’s feet were firmly planted just past the threshold, and he stared at her with his arms heavy by his side. She watched his mind working behind his sapphire eyes, his jaw flexing and unflexing, while his thumb and finger rubbed together and almost moved her feet towards him.

“Come,” he said in a whisper with his eyes soft, he turned his palm out towards her “You should go inside.”  He nodded his head in the direction of the hall, and she paced herself as she took steps towards him. The electric pulse grew stronger as he placed his hand on the small of her back the warmth of vitality poured through every layer of her skin, past her muscles awakening the desire even further.

The torches rolled low on their wicks once he fastened the door behind them and she turned to find his eyes blazing blue, sparkling in the glow. He slipped his hand into hers, “Come” he commanded once more and directed her down the hallway before opening a dark wooden door on the left with a staircase ablaze with torches. A hot heat caressed her face that matched the heat radiating from her body and felt wetness slide between her breasts. He led her up the stairs and, she willingly followed, knowing they were beginning something that couldn’t be stopped.

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Inspiring Women Series: Lesley Stefanski

inspiring women series, hycroft, women's university,

Back in 2014 I started a series called the Inspiring Women Series and loved introducing my readers to women who I found not only inspiring but true heartwarming and encouraging souls. I wasn’t able to carry the series forward longer than that year but I’ve been yearning to start it up again and this year I am ready to introduce more women from around the world to you.

I’ve been sending out emails and scheduling the upcoming interviews but before I introduce you to these women I thought I should take the interview myself. These questions are from the heart and I believe allow the reader to see deeply into another person’s life and dreams and that is what I’m all about here.

Name: Lesley Stefanski

Occupation: Freelance marketing coordinator, writer, and dreamer

Where can we find you: lesleystefanski.com and on instagram.com/lesleystefanski

Tell us a little about you and what you’re passionate about:
I am passionate about many things but mostly about finding one’s true values and then living life intentionally while weaving those values into every single facet of daily life.

Share with us 5 words that would describe your values or how you want to feel each day?
warmth, connected, cultured, richness, symphony

We all have a magical story of how things brought us to where we are today. Can you tell us a defining moment of how you ‘felt the fear and moved through it’ anyway?
Other than birthing by two babies 😉 When my business partner and I first started Pemberley there was a lot of fear coming up for me: “will this work out?”, “will others think I’m copying them?”, “who do I think I am starting a fashion line” and a slew of other fears. However, I pressed through and we brought Pemberley forward. It was hard work and it was well received! I was so happy that I didn’t let fear take something so important away from me. In the end, it didn’t last long, 15 months, but we learned so much and I definitely learned so much about myself that I am extremely proud of us and all we accomplished.

Sometimes fear isn’t what is stopping us from moving forward, but our intuition telling us a path isn’t for us. Have you experienced this, if yes, can you share how you could tell the difference between intuition and fear and how you honoured your intuition guiding you?
The difference for me is that my intuition continues to nudge me in my chest with little flutterings while fear is a sticky panicked feeling that creeps up my neck and feels like snakes coiling in my belly. However, even though I know the difference, I tend to side with fear instead of following my intuition. I think that is why it continues to nudge me, like sprinkling the idea in front of me while whispering “remember this?”.

I am incredibly loyal, so even if my intuition is telling me to move aside or take a turn fear will oblige me to stay up with “you don’t want to make them unhappy”. It is probably why I am really passionate about living intentionally because it forces me to constantly check my own life and make sure I am living true to myself and not out of fear.

There is a movement towards living intentionally and slow living. How have you implemented this in your own life?
I have been living intentionally since 2010 when my husband and I decided to move to Europe. That was the moment that I knew that life needed to be filled with one’s true values and dreams to really feel at peace. I pay close attention to the items that are brought into our home and how they make me and my family feel, even down to the food we buy and where it is bought from. I’m intentional about how we spend weekends and how going to the playground is a drain for me but my husband completely enjoys it so we balance the weekend by going on adventures to new places or places that excite me and then a trip to the playground for the routine and consistency. I could keep going, but I also know what intentional living and slow living means for me, does not look the exact same as someone else. We all have to find what our values are and then implement them into our lives.

Was there a specific moment where you knew that you needed to change from living the hustle and rushing down the fast lane to being more conscious of how you were spending your time?
This is something that I’ve always struggled with, not with getting out of the fast lane, but how to get in it! I’m much more attracted to slowness and comfort and being connected with others than the hustle and drive of sacrificing one’s self to getting ahead, lack of sleep, and neglecting family and friends. That has never been how I wanted to live life so I always felt like I was lazy or had zero drive.

For me, it is way more important to be available and open to my family than to be jumping on a client call. I have set up my life to reflect that and have left the guilt at the door.


How has this impacted you personally, professionally, and within your family?
Being attracted to slowness has definitely made me feel lazy or unmotivated and I sometimes shame myself into telling myself stories that other’s view me that way as well. But when I truly listen to how they talk about me, I know that they are all proud and happy of all of my accomplishments and that in their eyes I am not a failure at all. And that makes me more proud of myself more than anything else.

What resources would you recommend to someone if they wanted to live intentionally but they weren’t sure where to start? I would recommend reading Danielle LaPorte‘s “Firestarter Sessions” and “Desire Map“, dive into what your Myers-Briggs personality, your Enneagram, what Tendency you are, and even your numerology number is. These don’t give you all the answers but they will help highlight what is important, what values you align with, what dreams you have that you can’t let go of. Once you have a real understanding of who you are and all your perfect flaws and quirks I suggest start writing out your core desired feelings (like question 5 of this interview) and then every time you’re faced with an opportunity to align with your value you follow that instead of doing what is expected of you or what you’ve done in the past.

Slow, tiny steps, will lead to great change.

Has there been a moment in your life where you did something just for yourself because it brought you immense pleasure? Not because it was trendy or cool, but because your soul jumped up and said: “YES, that!”? What happened?
I’ve always wanted to write a book and I kept putting it off because I kept on putting a box around it of what I needed to write about. Then one day a friend sparked an idea and next thing I knew I was writing a very erotic novel with steamy love scenes. It was exciting and nerve-wracking because I kept on thinking “what will people think of me” but kept writing anyway. It was such an exciting time! I’m still in the process of writing it, but people keep on asking to read it and when I tell them it’s quite erotic I expect to get a “never mind” in response but it almost entices them to want to read it even more. It’s fun to see people’s reactions.

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?
My first go to is Pinterest. I have so many boards on there that make me happy and images that jump out at me that make me say “I want that”. The second is reading, I’m constantly soaking up novels and finding inspiration between the lines of characters or places or situations. To give an example I read the Outlander series and with the setting taking place in the highlands of Scotland and her knowledge of plants and herbs for natural remedies I found my own heart fluttering at the idea of spending time in the country and foraging. I started planning trips to the countryside and made a date with a friend to forage for Elderflowers and it spurred a new way of living for me. I’ve always been a city girl at heart but spending time in the country really grounds me. Inspiration can be found anywhere and I’m learning to not close the doors on things because I’ve never been interested in it before, but letting myself just be curious.

In a world where we are fighting for equality, justice, and love, what do you wish people knew more about? This past summer my eyes were truly opened to the injustice in the world and I’ve now been studying and having hard conversations about what white privilege looks like and how that plays out in my life. It was an extremely uncomfortable couple of months as I realised how blinded I was but I’m so happy that I was “told off”, in a way, because I never want to be that person again. I hope more people learn about how to be inclusive of everyone this year and start to make changes in their daily life.

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards?
This year I’m working towards being brave and asking for what I want, and setting up systems so that I succeed. This means I am asking for way more help than ever before and relying on others because I’ve recently come to discover that I’m great at showing up for others to help them achieve their dreams but mine get left in the dust because of that.

I’m not good at making time for my own dreams, so this year I’m asking others to help me achieve them.

If you have any questions, please comment below!

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